The High Court has today ruled that easyJet did not infringe the airline reservation software copyright of Navitaire, a US-based company that is part of Accenture.The case was brought by Navitaire, which had previously supplied airline reservations software to easyJet, after the airline had developed its own reservations software. Navitaire has a virtual monopoly over reservations software in the low-cost airline industry and, as such, it was attempting to prevent easyJet from having the freedom to develop its business as it sees fit.
Navitaire attacked almost every single aspectÊ of easyJet’s own reservation system, e-Res. But there were principal complaints against the database structure; the internet booking interface; the agent interfaces in the call centre and airport environments; and the “business logic” of all aspects of the system.
The legal challenge failed in every major respect, and Judge Pumphrey said that parts of the case were so bad they should have been abandoned.
In an important precedent for the UK software industry, Judge Pumphrey ruled that allowing the “business logic” to be protected by literary copyright was
an unjustifiable extension of copyright protection.
Ray Webster, easyJet Chief Executive, commented: “This is a good day for the consumer, we have always maintained that this was a fatuous case - and a waste of time. The central parts of the case were found to be totally without foundation. This was the action of a monopolist trying to protect its own business - easyJet has always fought for the consumer against monopolies, there are still too many parts of the airline industry that do not act in the interest of the consumer and are resisting change. easyJet’s development of our own computer software system has been critical in allowing the airline to lead the sector in terms of innovation”.
“E-res has been pivotal in allowing easyJet to be the first European low cost airline to allow customers to both retrieve details of their Ê bookings and make itinerary changes online. Also it enabled us to be the first airline anywhere in the world to check-in every single passenger on a flight, including those with hold luggage using our self-check-in kiosks”.